Mental Health Awareness Week is October 3-9 | Local News

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Mental health affects everyone. And, more Americans than people might think have symptoms of a mental health problem – one in five or more than 48 million adults.

And, the number of adults showing symptoms of severe mental illness is 1 in 20, or just over 17 million people. The number of young people (ages 6 to 17) showing symptoms of a mental health problem is approximately 16.5 percent.

All figures come from the 2019 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – one year before the impact of COVID.

These startling statistics, and a few more, are what NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and its Northwest Ohio affiliate hope to raise awareness in the first week of October for National Mental Illness Awareness Week.

NAMI Four County will be holding Mental Health Attention Walks at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 3 at Defiance, Bryan, Napoleon and Wauseon to kick off the week.

At Defiance, local NAMI members from Bryan and Wauseon held a short program and walk outside the courthouse in each community. In Bryan, the rally will take place at the northwest corner of the courthouse. And, at Napoleon, the event will take place at Pocket Park on Washington Street.

“We would like to encourage the public to join us,” said Wendy Jennings, Executive Director of NAMI Four County. “During Mental Illness Awareness Week, we hope to educate the public on how to eliminate stigma (associated with mental illness) and advocate for better access to mental health care. Each year our movement grows stronger as we shine a light on mental illness. “

Even though 20 percent of adults and 16.5 percent of youth show symptoms of a mental health problem, less than half of adults (45 percent) and about half of youth seek treatment. The number of people seeking medical help increases to two-thirds for those with severe mental illness.

For some, the shame of seeking treatment for a mental health problem prevents them from doing so.

“By attending our launch event at the location closest to you, we are making a statement to reduce stigma and encourage families to seek help for a loved one,” Jennings said. “This year’s theme for the week is ‘Together for Mental Health’. Throughout the week, we’ll be using our social media platforms to advocate for better care for people with serious mental illness.

“We will be raising the voices of people with serious mental illness and the need for better crisis response and mental health care,” Jennings said.

Untreated mental illness can be fatal. It is estimated that 90 percent of all suicide deaths can be attributed to mental illness – often an untreated illness. According to SAMSHA statistics, less than half of those who died by suicide (46) had a diagnosed mental health problem. The number jumps to 90% when family and friends are asked if their loved one has had symptoms of a mental health problem.

The most common mental health disorders are anxiety disorders, which affect about 19% of adults or 48 million people; major depression, 8 percent or 19 million people; post-traumatic stress disorder, 4 percent or 9 million people; and bipolar disorder, 3 percent or 7 million people.

Wendy Jennings is the Defiance event coordinator, while Katie Beck and Jammie Richmond will coordinate the Bryan event; Billie Jo (BJ) Horner, the Napoleon event; and Sarah Hankinson, the Wauseon event. For more information on the program or the walk, contact NAMI Four County at 419-405-3651 or email Wendy Jennings at [email protected] or BJ Horner, NAMI Program Coordinator, at bj @ namifourcounty. org.


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